In looking to help explain how we design and facilitate value-driven, culture-changing meetings, I find I regularly need to explain how I leverage JTBD. (There are a ton of different ways to describe and use JTBD out there and some are much more useful than others.) Have more questions after reading this and checking out the resources below? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.

Your Product/Solution/Experience/Meeting has a Job To Do
Jobs to Be Done (JTBD) is a framework for analyzing the fit for purpose of products and services by understanding what jobs the consumer is hiring them to do. Through the JTBD framework, we look at the ways the customers currently solve their problems, and at what creates customer delight and satisfaction in terms of functional, social, and emotional value. JTBD is all about understanding the job your product does for your user.

Why Did you Buy That Car?
One example I like to give of JTBD is around the last time I purchased a car.

The car’s functional role was of course to provide transportation, to get me from point A to point B. There was a lot of variety in point B. It was not only needed to help me commute to the airport, but it also needed to get me, my friends, and my large dog to the backcountry, sometimes over rocky terrain, sometimes in deep snow: It needed clearance, four or all-wheel-drive, and a comfy spot for friends and the dog in the vehicle. I wanted a car that was unlikely to break down in any and all of those places. I wanted a car that would functionally fit a small driver (I’m 5’ tall on a good day).

The car’s social role: I like to feel like I’m being a good steward of the environment. I also like to have a car (or truck) that looks nice.

The car’s emotional role: I like to feel comfortable in the car, like it was made to fit me. I’m a small human, and so many don’t. It’s not just functional, it’s emotional. Also: I am a sucker for smooth, rapid acceleration. I love the way it feels.

These aspects are all part of the “job” the car needs to do… for me.

An Example of Creating Business Value
In business, we spend a lot of time and money having people collaborate to create customer value–often in meetings. At Elevate, we work to design meetings that are more valuable experiences, that provide better short term and long term cultural and business outcomes.

When we go to design a meeting agenda, we start with a draft outcome, a draft purpose, and then talk to our customers — the meeting participants. We ask them about current challenges with creating the outcomes and outputs they’re looking to create together. We ask them about social friction and issues keeping them from working better together. We ask them personally, individually what they’re hoping to learn, accomplish–and even be seen as. We then use that (confidential) information to design an agenda in service to not just the organization’s functional outcomes, but it’s needed social interactions to remove friction and silos, to provide training people are afraid to ask for (or fear sounding stupid for saying they don’t understand), to address emotional blockers from people sharing important information or showing up at their best.

These aspects we design for are all “jobs” of the meeting. The meeting’s job isn’t just about achieving the stated outcome of the meeting, it’s also about the impact and growth of the humans, their connectedness, and all of the other improvement outcomes we have for the company. A well-designed, well-led meeting achieves purposes far beyond just finishing the agenda on time.

Favorite Jobs To Be Done Resources
The classic video: Clayton Christensen on milkshakes
Lovely newer summary with resources list and lightweight JTBD framework for software products by Sunita Mohanty